About this Research Topic
Despite progress in cancer treatment, cancer incidence, mortality and survival varies markedly between and within countries. In high-income countries, cancer deaths have surpassed deaths from cardiovascular diseases. In low-to-middle income countries, where 30% of deaths from non-communicable diseases occur before age 60, cancer has become a leading cause of death. Social and economic gradients have been noted for cancer incidence, mortality, and survival, with lower socioeconomic position (SEP) being one of the strongest predictors of cancer risk and poor cancer outcomes worldwide.
It is well established that tobacco smoking, obesity, alcohol, and physical inactivity and other cancer risk factors are associated with SEP. SEP affects cancer risk by shaping lifestyles and via other pathways such as stress, major life events, material deprivation, environmental, and working conditions. However, the impact is not always predictable; the direction of association – whether positive or negative – varies by the risk factor, geographical location, and sex. In countries with relative sociopolitical stability, estimated deaths attributable to social factors include: low education, racial segregation, low social support and isolation, individual poverty level, and area level poverty. In countries with sociopolitical unrest, fluctuations in cancer mortality patterns have been observed over time and in alignment with socioeconomic changes, affecting segments of the population differently.
The cancer experience, its treatment and related psychosocial factors might also have consequences that impact socioeconomic circumstances and social functioning and thus influence SEP. Thus, social inequities might be created or increased among cancer survivors. While a large number of studies have investigated somatic late effects in survivors, little is known about the socioeconomic and psychosocial impact in survivors.
Cancer inequities with respect to SEP are an unnecessary and potentially modifiable determinant of cancer. Identifying and reducing cancer risk through further study in the most vulnerable populations is of key importance to achieving progress in cancer care. We welcome original research and review manuscripts on this topic.
Keywords: pathways and biological mechanisms, Social inequities, socioeconomic status, cancer risk, cancer mortality
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